05 April 2006

The Missing Music of Saudi Arabia

Had a request last week for music from Saudi Arabia, and I'm coming up short. Wikipedia has only a brief entry on Music of Saudi Arabia, and I have but one song from the mentioned artists. It was part of the World Music A-Z project mentioned in an earlier post.

So what's the story with Saudi music? Other nations with conservative Muslim governments seem to still produce plenty of music. Egypt is a is a musical hotbed, Iraq and Iran consistently produce both traditional and pop hits. What's different about Saudi Arabia? Your opinions, conjectures, and facts are welcome on this topic.

In the meantime, I share this Saudi song with you, a live recording by Talal El Maddah (aka Talal Maddah) that is known only as "Song 1," because the title on the album appears in a language SoundRoots' crack team of translators just can't grasp.

[mp3] Talal El Maddah: "Song 1"
From the 1990 album The Best of Talal El Maddah


Anonymous said...

The link you provided mentions a Rough Guide publication on World Music, and it mentions Mohammed Abdu. "World Music" (Rough Guide 1994) mentions him and Etab. Both Saudi singers became famous in the Arab world in the 1980s, but apparently recorded in Egypt. Etab, who is black, had a hit with "Gani al-asmar gani" [The dark one came to me]. This appears to be her website -- http://www.6aar.com/teams/etab.htm

A more current artist is Waad, who had a #1 music video last year -- see comments at http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/06/waad_1_with_a_b.shtml

Hope this sheds some light.

SpinTheGlobe said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I've read about Waad, who is Saudi but lives in Lebanon, presumably because of their more liberal stance towards women singers (she reportedly was rejected by her family because of her chosen profession, and one of her own brothers tried to kill her...). I don't know what "Waad" might mean, but to my ear, her given name of Hannan is much more pleasant.

Anyone else know of active Saudi singers/musicians of note?